The Lonesome Crown – The Final Book of the Five Warrior Angels Trilogy
The Five Warrior Angels trilogy by Brian Lee Durfee was originally intended to be a five book series; a pentalogy. However, the publisher insisted on a trilogy, so the series ended up being a trio of three hefty tomes. I would have preferred this series as five books. It would have made each book more readable, and fit the overall scheme of five warrior angels, five magical weapons, five angel stones, and five isles.
It is perplexing from a marketing standpoint why the publisher did not choose the five book route.
The final book, The Lonesome Crown, brings all the various religious beliefs to a head as all the races that inhabit the five isles seek out “Fiery Absolution”. This end of an era had been prophesied in many religious texts, each one centered around a group’s particular beliefs. (Beliefs benefiting themselves.)
The magical weapons and stones are the key to victory, and each group seeks these out and fight over them. The battles over these weapons are intense and violent, and Durfee has no qualms of being gory and brutal. The graphic descriptions, in all their detail, become a bit redundant after awhile. There are only so many times NPC-like “knights” can be ripped in half with entrails spilling out or heads rolling around on the ground before I tended to skim through some of the battle scenes.
Small spoiler… the scenes where certain characters are fighting dragons, however, are much more fascinating. But whenever the Bloodwoods are involved, the fights tended to become a bit unbelievable. Somehow these characters literally have a hundred daggers somehow hidden on their body and they can block battle axes and longswords with a dagger (what!!).
With so many characters, Durfee does an excellent job of giving them a unique feel. True, every character is more beautiful than the next (unless they are disfigured, of course), but none of the mains felt like copies of each other. This is truly a great feat, because there are more than a dozen featured characters and many more moderate characters.
These characters cross paths numerous times in the most unexpected (and expected) places. Some sworn enemies end up traveling companions together and there are plenty of betrayals to go around. Beer Mug, the huge gray shepherd dog makes many wonderful appearances at all the right times.
Much of the final third of the book is full of bizarre, cinematic scenes that I can’t detail here without spoiling too much of the goodness. But it was the last three hundred pages that were really griping and made it difficult to stop reading.
That said, there was definitely some slow parts and redundancy. Several times entire scenes would play out without moving the story along much. There were also too many glaring mistakes that an editor should have caught, including the use of the wrong character’s name in several instances.
Also needing some editorial help was the dialogue. This was probably my lest favorite part of the series, especially in The Lonesome Crown. The characters spent too much time in exposition, especially in highly dangerous situations. Conversations between Tala and the King, Tala and Seita, Tala and Nail… (maybe Tala was the problem). It all seemed forced and ridiculous.
The many different character POVs was nice, but this tends to work better when the characters are not together. Some of the same scenes were re-described, which is unnecessary from the reader’s perspective. We don’t need a full list of all the characters present or the five magical weapons and their corresponding colors.
Then there is the open disdain for faith and religious belief. Not really a spoiler, but nearly all the characters end up feeling like religion is the worst thing ever and should be abolished. Ironically, some of the characters denounced all the prophecies of the warring groups and in the next breath explain their own prophecy and how great it is.
Overall, The Five Warrior Angels series is full of violent action, many undulating plotlines, and a slew of interesting characters. The story is loaded with betrayals and surprises, secret passageways and beautiful settings. The series has all you’d want from epic fantasy and then some.